Here at ABM we are so fortunate to have some of the best people in the world as our customers and it is through your generosity in the Buttons for Change program that we are able to change the world, one button at a time. This month we are proud to share the most recent recipient of your generosity and the amazing story of Esther Grace Earl and her foundation, This Star Won’t Go Out.
Esther (Persian for "Star") Grace was born on August 3, 1994 in Beverly, Massachusetts. She was always a spunky, energetic, creative kid, full of caring for her brothers, and a close companion to her sisters. Known for her blue eyes, dimpled smile, and fly-away blond hair, she loved monkey bars and climbing ropes, rescuing abandoned cats, skiing the Alps, impromptu photo shoots with her sisters, designing web pages, teaching herself to play the piano and making her family laugh with joy.
In November 2006, Esther was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer
with extensive tumors already in her lungs. Following a thyroidectomy and seven months of treatment, her family moved to New England for her continued treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Esther patiently endured radioiodine treatments, x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s, a bi-pap machine, extensive medications, occasional stays in the hospital, and eventually experimental chemotherapy. As Esther's need for supplemental oxygen increased, her mobility decreased. Yet she found new avenues for meaning, investing herself in growing online friendships, creating videos and a cyber presence. She thrilled in her mild escapades into virtual stardom, embracing her self-proclaimed nerdiness as she dispensed advice, hosted all-night talkfests, and offered free hugs. She became a source for inspiration and a beacon of hope and love for other young adults with her wiser than her years wisdom.
On August 25, 2010, Esther lost her courageous battle but her light shines on in the stars and in the hearts of many through her namesake organization, This Star Won’t Go Out. TSWGO is a non-profit foundation with the goal to help lighten the burden for families of children diagnosed with life-threatening cancer by giving financial grants to help alleviate the stress during such a difficult time. These gifts can be used for medical expenses, items needed by the child with cancer, or personal expenses such as rent and utility payments, which can be difficult to manage due to the financial strain of caring for a child with cancer.
Since its founding in 2011, TSWGO has helped hundreds of families who are suffering from financial hardship related to childhood cancer and all funding has been raised from grassroots efforts, with gifts totaling over $400,000! They hold fund-raising events as well as selling bracelets and t-shirts and now they can add buttons to their offerings! As our Buttons for Change recipient, TSWGO is receiving a round button maker of their choice along with a pack of button supplies and a year of our Build-a-Button software to help them get on their way with making buttons of awesomeness!
If you would like to help you can contact This Star Won’t Go Out at www.TSWGO.org or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TSWGO/. Esther’s motto was “love is stronger than death” and that has been proven time and time again with family and friends determined to make life better for others who are forced to endure the cruel, relentless beast known as cancer. Esther Grace’s Earthly voice may have been silenced but her amazing, dimpled smile, giving, loving heart and incredibly beautiful spirit are evident nightly in the heavens. Just look for the brightest star in the sky and that will be her, resting in awesome.
Until next time, Happy Button Making!
By Brighid Brown, Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM
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